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POSTPONED-Sandy Creek Water Quality Meeting-POSTPONED
April 13 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Anyone interested is invited to attend a water quality meeting regarding Sandy Creek Park hosted by the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) on Monday, April 13, 2020 at 3:30 pm at the Jasper County Courthouse Annex, 271 E. Lamar Street in Jasper. Laura Clark attended the previous meeting last November and now participates as a stakeholder, but we need more people to get involved.
A little background: Sandy Creek heads up several miles south of Highway 255, and flows east of and parallel to Highway 96, heading towards the City of Jasper. From the point where it reaches the urban area of Highway 776, close to the Sheriff’s office, all the way to where it eventually discharges into Steinhagen Lake, aka Dam B, the water is classified as impaired due to elevated levels of E. coli bacteria. This bacteria is found in the fecal matter of humans and other animals — basically, anything with hair, fur or feathers.
The federal EPA has rules that require these elevated levels of bacteria be addressed, and they delegate their authority to oversee that matter to the TCEQ. Texas’ favorite method of achieving compliance with federal government standards is through public participation, so they and TWRI were in Jasper on November 21 to seek out stakeholders in the area and gather their thoughts and opinions about the best management strategies to bring those bacteria levels down.
The levels are not extremely high, but they are high enough to affect “contact recreation” – activities such such as wading, swimming or paddling or anything that increases the risk of water ingestion that could lead to contracting a gastrointestinal illness. The standard we need to reach for safety is 126 colony forming units per 100 mL of water, and the current average is 173.
As the process and projects for achieving compliance are identified, we will have the opportunity to volunteer. These projects could involve helping to diagnose the problems and implementing solutions such as reintroducing native species, eliminating invasive species, removing trash from the area, water quality testing, and working with landowners and the public to educate them. Depending on the plan that is developed, we may also open the door for federal grant money for larger projects to address flooding and build wildlife habitat.
You’re welcome to attend just to listen and count the time as advanced training, but if you want to get involved and offer your input, your attendance will count towards service on the Sandy Creek Park Project. Please share this info with anyone you think might be interested. If you want a copy of the email from the project lead, contact Laura Clark. They are doing the same process for Wolf Creek in Tyler County, also, and she can get you info on that if you’re interested.